According to Bryan Hoch via twitter, Girardi has stated that newly acquired LHP Jon Niese will be competing for a bullpen spot. So, the team isn’t looking for him to start games in spite of the fact he’s only made 14 relief appearances in his career.
Niese’s contract is officially a minor league deal, but if he’s able to make the 25 man roster he’ll get paid $1.25 million this season, with the chance to make $750,000 more in incentives.
Ultimately, it makes sense to try to find a spot for Niese in the bullpen as opposed to the rotation. As of right now, there are already five different pitchers competing this spring for the 4 and 5 rotation spots. Niese represents a good bullpen option for lefty match-ups and as long relief to eat up the middle innings in games.